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The Runelords: The Sum Of All Men (The Runelords, Book 1) Hardcover – July 1, 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 397 ratings

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Editorial Reviews Review

The Runelords is that rare book that will remind you why you started reading fantasy in the first place. Much of the setting--and even some of the story--is conventional fantasy fare, but David Farland, aside from being a masterful storyteller, has built his world around a complex and thought-provoking social system involving the exchange of "endowments." Attributes such as stamina, grace, and wit are a currency: a vassal may help his lord by endowing him with all of his strength, for instance, and in turn the vassal comes under the lord's care as his "dedicate," too weak to even walk. A Runelord might have hundreds of such endowments, giving him superhuman senses and abilities, but he then must care for the hundreds that he has deprived of strength, or beauty, or sight.

Runelords excels because this novel idea is not mere window dressing--Farland uses it to explore fundamental questions of life and morality. The story's hero, the young Runelord Gaborn, struggles to define his role in this "shameful economy" while keeping his commitments to himself, to his people, to the woman he loves, and to the earth itself. We end up asking ourselves the same questions: Should you choose your friends based on insight or virtue? Is it better to be just or good? Competent fantasy lets you escape to adventure in faraway lands, but exceptional fantasy makes sure you have something to think about when you get back. Runelords accomplishes the latter. --Paul Hughes

From Publishers Weekly

The intriguing hook behind Farland's first novel?and launch of a new fantasy series?is a complex magical technology whereby abilities such as wit, brawn and stamina are transferable from person to person. Most royalty and high-level soldiers take or pay for some endowments, often from those in lower strata of society, but the Wolf Lord Raj Ahten intends to add, by whatever means necessary, whole kingdoms'-full of abilities to himself, becoming the Sum of All Men. His opponent, Runelord and prince Gaborn Val Orden, matures during the novel, falling in love with Princess Iome Sylvarresta, whose kingdom is overrun by Raj Ahten. Aided by the herbalist and wizard Binnesman, Gaborn makes a mysterious vow, becoming the Erden Geboren, or Earthborn, heir to a different magic. An apocalypse may be approaching, in which Gaborn's elemental kingship provides the only hope. The magic is basic to Farland's story, not just painted on, and it and the society in which it plays out are rigorously and imaginatively elaborated. The author's characters, however, are less vivid and original. And with Raj Ahten triumphant for most of the book, and with such grim sources of even the heroes' power, readers looking for uplifting entertainment, or even for particularly convincing fantasy, may be disappointed with Farland's first novel, despite its many fine qualities.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Tor Books : Tom Doherty Associates; 1st edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 479 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0312866534
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0312866532
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.85 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 1.75 x 9.75 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 397 ratings

About the author

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David Farland is an award-winning, international best-selling author with over 60 novels in print. He has won the Phillip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for "Best Novel in the English Language", the Whitney award for "Best Novel of the Year" and the Hollywood Book Festival, Grand Prize. He is best known, however, for his New York Times best-selling fantasy series The Runelords, which will soon be made into a graphic novel and, likely, a movie.

Farland has written for major franchises such as Star Wars and The Mummy. In the video game industry, he has been both a designer and scripter and was a leader on the design team for StarCraft: Brood War.

As a writing instructor, Farland has mentored dozens who have gone on to staggering literary success, including such #1 New York Times Bestsellers as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Stephanie Meyer (Twilight)

Farland judges L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future, perhaps the largest worldwide writing competition for new fantasy and science fiction authors. He has worked in Hollywood greenlighting movies and doctoring scripts. He set the Guinness World Record for the largest single-author, single-book signing.

David Farland has been hailed as "The Wizard of Storytelling" and his work has been called "compelling", "engrossing", "powerful", "profound" and "ultimately life-changing".

"I still use the writing techniques he discussed, and constantly reference him and his instruction when I teach creative writing myself. . . His explanations led me directly to getting an agent, and subsequently, my first book deal."

Brandon Sanderson,

#1 Bestselling Author of Way of Kings

"He understands storytelling and writing on a freaky level. All of us feel like we owe a huge debt to him."

James Dashner,

#1 Bestselling Author of The Maze Runner

"Aside from being a talented writer, David Farland is an excellent writing teacher. Hearing him teach live and reading his written advice has helped me focus many of my own thoughts about the writing process. Those who would like to learn more about the craft of writing would be wise to pay attention."

Brandon Mull,

New York Times Bestselling Author of Fablehaven

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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
397 global ratings

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Andy Angel
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great even 2nd time round (& several years on!)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good story
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